Seabrook Island has lengthy been a second house to Emery Macpherson. Her grandparents have been among the many first residents to construct within the coastal enclave, and her mother and father finally adopted swimsuit. She has a photograph of her first party at Seabrook’s Beach Club, and her marriage ceremony was held at Camp St. Christopher on the island. She spent lengthy summer season days there enjoying within the sand and surf, and even lived on the island for 4 years after ending faculty.
Macpherson could also be an Upstate native, however she’s a Seabrooker by means of and thru. “I’ve been out there my whole life,” mentioned Macpherson, a Realtor with Akers Ellis who makes a speciality of high-end properties on Johns and Seabrook islands. “Since I was a little girl, we’d come down pretty much every weekend during the summer. I know it like the back of my hand. And not much has changed–we’re still out at the Beach Club as much as possible.”
Indeed, there’s one thing about Seabrook Island that engenders an attachment that folks would possibly really feel towards a house that’s been within the household for decades–because in a approach, that’s simply what Seabrook is. It’s an island the place weekends on the Beach Club are handed down from one era to the subsequent, the place there are fewer vacationers and extra full-time residents, the place the sense of group is bolstered by restricted public entry. Seabrook Island is that uncommon Lowcountry seaside group that belongs completely to those that stay there, quite than those that go to.
“We’re not a resort community,” mentioned Michael Asnip, chief working provide and dealer accountable for Seabrook Island Real Estate. “There’s no hotel, no conference center, no public restaurants, no public play on the golf courses or tennis courts. So, from that standpoint, it’s different. The family-oriented aspect is pretty strong here.”
Once a Lowcountry group eclipsed by neighboring Kiawah Island and its main golf championships, Seabrook is a secret no extra. In latest years, actual property values there have risen, the island’s membership has undergone a significant renovation, and extra households with youngsters have moved in. It all provides a brand new dynamic to an island all the time identified for its views, based on Pam Harrington, proprietor and dealer accountable for Pam Harrington Exclusives, which makes a speciality of properties on Seabrook, Johns and Kiawah islands.
“Some of the vistas you can get on Seabrook are exceptional,” Harrington mentioned. “If you go out onto Marshgate Drive and get one of those houses that looks across the marsh and Captain Sam’s Spit and toward the ocean, it’s just really special. There are so many good options out there.”
A totally non-public island
Those who aren’t residents or company will get just one view of Seabrook Island: that of a beige guardhouse and a gate limiting entry. “You can’t get through our gate. You just can’t,” Asnip mentioned. “You can’t just say that you’re going somewhere. And it’s not so much a security thing as it is a knowledge of who’s on the island and who’s not. It’s peace of mind.”
The presence of that gate, and the bounds on who can get by means of it, assist to keep up a sense of group on Seabrook Island that’s very totally different from that of different seaside cities. Although neighboring Kiawah Island has a gate as nicely, it permits public entry to services like its golf programs and Sanctuary resort, and in addition contains a county seaside park. Seabrook in contrast is totally private–and by all accounts, the residents there prefer it that approach.
“Seabrook feels more like a gated neighborhood community on the water,” Macpherson mentioned. “So it does have more of a neighborhood community feel to it. You move to Seabrook, and you’re going to know a lot of your neighbors very quickly.”
Debra Jadwin, a gross sales agent at Pam Harrington Exclusives and a Seabrook resident, mentioned the gate generally is a promoting level. “The folks on Seabrook really appreciate the fact that it’s gated,” she mentioned. “You have a couple of thousand residents on the island, and it’s more for the residents who live there full-time.”
Seabrook definitely has its share of householders who use the island for a second house or a rental property, as is the case at different seaside communities within the area. But Macpherson estimated that possibly half of island residents stay there full-time, and that share “is growing every year,” Asnip added.
“We’re becoming more family-centered every year. Family memories are a legacy of experiences that generational families pass down to their kids and grandkids. That’s a good way of thinking about Seabrook–the grandparents own a property, the children own the property, the grandchildren buy a villa,” he added. “One generation moves on, the next generation fills the gap. We see that over and over and over again.”
Macpherson mentioned her latest Seabrook consumers have run the gamut from retirees to households of their 30s and 40s. “It used to be more of an older demographic for people who would come and retire on Seabrook. But that has changed drastically,” she added. “it’s become a much younger demographic over the past couple of years.”
That shift of extra households with youngsters shifting to Seabrook is steadily altering the fiber of an island that’s seen the typical age of residents drop from 58 to 53 over the previous yr, Asnip mentioned. “That’s pretty dramatic,” he added. “That means there are children still in the home. We’re excited about that. We think that’s good for the vibe and the energy and the community. So that’s been a happy occasion.”
From undervalued to in-demand
Of course, within the present actual property market, getting onto Seabrook Island will be far tougher than simply getting previous the gate. As of mid-May, there have been solely 10 properties on the island listed on the market, based on Harrington. That degree of stock “is extremely low” for the island, she added. “There are far more people who want to be out there than there is inventory to sell to them.”
According to figures launched by the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors (CTAR), in April–the most up-to-date month for which information was available–Seabrook Island noticed simply eight new listings for indifferent single-family properties, down from 10 in the identical month in 2021. The median gross sales value was $1.206 million, up a whopping 42 p.c year-over-year. Sellers have been getting 99.8 p.c of listing value, and Seabrook properties have been in the marketplace for a mean of simply 15 days.
It was an analogous story within the island’s townhome and apartment market, based on CTAR, which noticed 9 new listings in April, down from 14 in the identical month in 2021. The median gross sales value surged 45.8 p.c year-over-year to $487,400, sellers have been receiving 101.8 p.c of listing value, and the typical days on market was a mere two–down considerably from 27 in April of 2021.
“There are individual sellers who have put their property on the market at 9 o’clock in the morning, just by example, and by that afternoon, they’ll have three or four offers,” Asnip mentioned. “It’s been a crazy experience.”
As of mid-May, Macpherson mentioned median costs on Seabrook had risen 47 p.c year-over-year, with gross sales quantity up 228 p.c from the late spring of 2019–before the coronavirus pandemic arrived, and fully modified the Lowcountry’s actual property panorama. Median house costs on the island have skyrocketed over 81 p.c since that point greater than two years in the past, Macpherson added, with folks seeing the safety and privateness of Seabrook as an asset in a time of Covid.
“I’ve got some clients who bought things for $300,000, and we’re putting them on the market for $660,000,” she added. “But I do feel like for a long time, Seabrook was undervalued. After the recession, it took years for the island to come back to where we needed to be. We were just so undervalued compared with the rest of the Charleston market. The ‘Covid market,’ which we like to call it, got us back to where I think we really needed to be. So I think the prices, they’re actually reasonable.”
Macpherson isn’t alone in her perception that Seabrook Island had been undervalued from an actual property perspective in comparison with the remainder of the Charleston space normally, and its neighbor Kiawah Island specifically. Prior to the onset of the Covid market, Seabrook oceanfront properties would promote for a fraction of the value of properties of comparable high quality and on comparable heaps on Kiawah, Asnip mentioned. “Seabrook was not necessarily appreciated for all its merits,” he added.
With no lively developer cranking out advertising campaigns, Seabrook grew considerably nameless as its neighboring island grew to become world-famous, and the distinction was mirrored in actual property values. The surge of demand set unfastened by the top of Covid lockdowns modified all the pieces. “When the Charleston market got down to nothing, our values went up across the board,” Asnip mentioned. “We’re now in a very different market than we’ve ever been in before, proven by the level of the buyer that’s buying property out here.”
‘It’s a really totally different place’
Quite a bit has modified on Seabrook Island lately, past the typical age and revenue degree of some homebuyers. The island undertook a $6 million effort to renovate its facilities, amongst them the Beach Club and considered one of its two 18-hole golf programs. Given that membership within the Seabrook Island Club is necessary for householders on the island–with the exception of these residing at Bohicket Marina–it was necessary to convey the standard of membership facilities extra in keeping with actual property values.
“It now definitely has that resort feel where you can order a margarita from your chair if you want, which is great,” Jadwin mentioned. “They expanded the pool area and added an outside bar. They have expanded the services, and they also did a full revamp of the Beach Club and the Island House restaurant. It’s really something to see out there.”
The facilities now are “completely different from what I remember when I was growing up,” Macpherson added. “They are top notch. It’s really helped our (real estate) market in that the amenities now are unmatched. While Seabrook is still the same, there are definitely some differences from when I was growing up, but all in a good way.”
The facilities related to the Seabrook Island Club are intensive. Beyond the Beach Club and its swimming pools and eating places and superb eating on the Island House, the membership additionally consists of two golf programs (one designed by Robert Trent Jones), a racquet membership with 15 clay tennis and two pickleball courts, the Lake House health middle with indoor and outside swimming pools, and a 22-acre equestrian facility that’s lengthy been a fixture on the island.
“Nobody knew that Seabrook was here, and that’s changed. So it’s very, very different now,” Asnip mentioned. “And it’s been a great experience for our property owners who have been choosing to sell, and the level of amenity that we’re now offering compared to what we were offering before the renovation. All that is very different. It’s a very different place than it was even two years ago.”
And but, at its coronary heart it stays the identical Seabrook Island the place many households have converged for generations. Seeing extra households with youngsters “adds some vitality and energy to the island,” Jadwin mentioned. “It’s changing in a good way, just adding to what it already has to offer.” And one factor definitely hasn’t modified: the presence of that gate.
It is probably not a secret anymore, but it surely’s nonetheless Seabrook, in spite of everything.
“There are people who get to the gate and get upset, because they can’t get through it,” Harrington mentioned. “But it makes it a very nice, secure community.”